Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo
Competition: Copa do Brasil
Date: 30 June 2017
Kick-off: 00:30 CET
Atletico Mineiro played with an alternative lineup at Chapecoense last weekend partly because they had to (a lot of injured players), partly because coach Roger Machado chose so, but they still won the game, 1-0, taking advantage of the pitiful form Chape are in for weeks now. Unfortunately for Atletico, several players are still missing. All three right-backs, Marcos Rocha, Carlos César, Alex Silva, are injured, and against Chapecoense it was central midfielder Yago who was assigned with doing the… dirty job. Interestingly, he did great, his coach praised him publicly after the match, and he’s going to stay in that position for as long as needed. More defenders are missing, Rodrigão (got injured in the game at Chape), Felipe Santana, Erazo (he got punished by the club for leaving a practice session early without permission, but either way, he’s injured as well), but at least Gabriel is available, even though not sure to play, since his fitness remains an issue. All in all, Atletico could do with less players missing, but against Chapecoense they had pretty much the same absences, and still did great.
Botafogo’s 2-0 loss at home to Avai on Monday is one of those results that… are really hard to explain. Coach Jair Ventura had implied that he would use his best possible 11, despite facing the weakest team of the championship, and having this Copa do Brasil match a few days later. He did exactly that, Carli and Joao Paulo were missing but only because they were suspended, Botafogo had been doing very well, Avai had five losses in as many games away from home, scoring just once, but still… Final score, 0-2, a real shock for Botafogo. The plan was to rest some key players in the second half, so as to have them as ‘fresh’ as possible in Belo Horizonte versus Atletico, but… that plan was thrown to the dustbin, as Botafogo struggled to get back into the game in the second half, failing big. What’s ironic is that Avai’s goals in the 6th and 17th minute were scored by Cameroonian striker Joel, a Botafogo player earlier this year! Adding injury to insult, Argentine midfielder Walter Montillo, finally back after a long recovery from an injury, had to leave the pitch after just eight minutes, in pain, another blow for Botafogo and, most of all, the player himself.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Head-to-head Stats
Atletico have four wins and two draws the last six times they’ve hosted Botafogo. Last time the Rio de Janeiro team managed to beat Atletico in Belo Horizonte was back in 2011, in a Copa Sudamericana game.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Prediction
After Botafogo’s… shocking defeat at home to Avai, and Atletico’s ‘professional’ win at Chapecoense, backing the hosts to win looks like the sensible thing to do.
Atletico Mineiro vs Botafogo: Tips
Atletico’s win pays 1.66. I’m trying and trying to find something better than that, but… both teams have had spectacular ups and downs, both at home and away, so… Given that it’s the first of two legs, I’d go with ‘Atletico and under 2.5 goals’, at 4.00, considering 1-0 (7.00) the most probable score.